Russia’s AI Leipunsky Institute of Physics and Power Engineering (IPPE) in Obninsk has completed experiments which tested the performance of domestically made hydrogen recombiners, according to the All Russian Scientific & Research Institute for Nuclear Power Plant Operation (VNIIAES), the lead organisation for justification of hydrogen safety in VVER-1000 reactor plants. Recombiners prevent explosive hydrogen concentrations in the reactor containment. In the event of an abnormal situation, they bind the released hydrogen, converting it to water. The experiments conducted at IPPE have confirmed “earlier declared characteristics of domestically made hydrogen recombiners, including their performance and reliability”, VNIIAES said in a 20 September statement.

Work on hydrogen explosion safety of operating NPPs in Russia has been underway since 2004, but became especially topical after the 2011 Fukushima accident, VNIIAES noted. As part of the post-Fukushima measures, operating Russian NPPs with VVER reactors “have already installed or are preparing to install passive catalytic hydrogen recombiners made by investment scientific and production company Russian Power Technologies and French firm AREVA”. Hydrogen recombines are also included in the designs of new NPPs.